With roughly 6 weeks until our cycling trip to Europe, its time to get organised!
The trickiest part about planning this trip has been predicting how far we might be able to cover each day so we can pre-book accomodation. Many of the places we’re going are already heavily booked so its a bit risky to wing it when we want to fit so much into 5 weeks.
The plan so far; Fly to Munich then stock up and reconstruct our bikes for the weeks ahead (assuming they arrive intact!) Then off to Switzerland for an 8 day self guided trip around the eastern lakes district riding through Lichtenstein and Austria and back to Lake Constance.
The Swiss Cycling infrastructure looks incredible, with the entire country mapped out with numbered National, Regional or Local Cycling routes. The Swiss Veloland website has been a great resource. Look at all these bike routes!
Then we’re heading over to Italy (via Innsbruck in Austria on the train) and up to the Dolomites for a week at a bike hotel in Alta Badia – a ski resort during winter and cyclists wonderland in off season. The cyclist-owner runs organised group rides most days, and one of the days we’ll be staying there the roads are closed to cars for the Selaronda bike day – Yay!
From there we plan to head south via the usual tourist stops of Venice and Florence to get the obligatory Museum visits in and meet up for the weekend with my sister, who has kindly pointed out that one should not drink wine whilst wearing lycra (good point!)
After getting nowhere with the inflexible tour company who are booking the Tuscany self-guided cycling tour, we will catch the train over to Pisa and double back on ourselves and ride back to Florence (via Lucca and Vinci). It would have been logical to begin in Florence and ride west to Pisa. Being a ‘self guided’ tour, the company doesn’t do much beside book our hotels and tell us the address and drop our luggage off. You wouldn’t think it would be that much of an impost on the company to book accomodation in reverse order. We can read the map directions in reverse… but alas that seems like too much to ask of a customer service company. Bah! (I’ll reserve my review of these companies until after the trip, but so far our improessions have been pretty average.)
Back on the train briefly to cover some extra ground quickly – we’ll head north via the west coast of Italy, with a short stop over in Levanto for a spot of hiking through the amazingly-perched-on-cliff-side-of-a-cliff-villages of the Cinque Terre. Then on to Piedmont for our final stretch of bicycle touring. This time finding our own way around on the bikes (and hauling all our luggage with us each day.) Another reason to pack lightly! Must hurry up and book accomodation – I read there’s a Truffle Festival on in the Piedmont region in Autumn so it may be quite busy!